I’d like to set out my stall by first pointing out that the Queen is the head of state (for roughly a dozen countries, IIRC), and not a bludgeoning device to be used for party-political games. It also needs to be noted that a few weeks before The Sun bravely condemned Jeremy Corbyn for ‘disrespecting the Queen’, they bravely condemned the Queen for allegedly making a Nazi salute when she was a child. As the follow-up talking points from a range of Tories revealed, this is merely an excuse to once again push the line that Corbyn is an far-left extremist who wants to overthrow the monarchy, piss on the flag, and eat your babies. If he had sung along, they would instead have called him a hypocrite. Anything to draw attention away from an uncomfortable PMQs for Cameron and the tax credit debate that’s unfolding.
I don’t know about you, but as an agnostic, when I am in church and the hymns begin, I remain silent, but stand respectfully. I’m not causing a fuss. I’m not contradicting or condemning anyone. I am merely exercising my right to not sing along to lyrics that have a deep and religious meaning and purpose that I do not agree with.
A similar convention exists with the national anthem in many countries, including this one. You can, do and should have the freedom to remain seated if you wanted to, but it’s polite to stand, and it’s perfectly OK to not sing along… particularly if you’re Scottish and the assembly is going all the way to the 4th verse.
If the false patriots of The Sun are going to bleat about British values and British traditions, they should acknowledge that Britain is becoming an increasingly enlightened and secular country over time, and everybody should have the right to express their views in any case.
It is perfectly acceptable to hope that Britain can move forward one day without a head of state who was born to the role according to the perceived will of the alleged god of Abraham. It is equally acceptable to decline to sing lyrics that actively pray to that alleged god for an indefinite extension of the status quo.
All of that said, if you wanted to fully exercise your right to free speech, I humbly submit to you three alternative versions of the national anthem for you to sing at appropriate gatherings or in the privacy of your own home:
1. The Inclusive Anthem
I wrote this a few years ago for the benefit of people of alternative faiths who also wished to voice their support for our Queen:
For spontaneity, ask every deity;
‘God(s) save the Queen’.
Brahma & Ek Onkar,
Odin & Zeus & Ra,
Yahweh, Baal, Arinna;
God(s) Save the Queen!
2. ‘God Bless My Underwear’
This is a variation on a classic that I wrote for a campfire songbook. It takes a minor liberty with the structure of the verses, but that is the least of its sins:
God hear my sacred prayer, please bless my underwear
Make them pristine
This is my only pair
Save me from wear and tear
Don’t let my bum go bare
God, keep them clean.
(da-da da-da da-da)
God hear my under-prayer,
Because you’re everywhere,
While you are down in there,
God, keep them clean.
3. The Air Guitar Anthem
And, finally, for those narcissists who see no reason to worship or praise anyone but themselves, I present to you the ultimate in anthemic self-indulgence. It is important that at the key moment* you reveal your air guitar and invisible pick with a flourish, assume the position (legs apart, hips forward), then begin pseudo-shredding while making electric guitar noises to the tune of ‘God Save the Queen’. With gusto.
I am a big rock star
This is my air guitar*
Wah wah-wah wah-wah wahhhh wah-wang
Thank you, Cleveland, and goodnight.